Joseph Henry Blackburne
Number of games in database: 965
Years covered: 1861 to 1916
Overall record: +452 -232 =216 (62.2%)*
   * Overall winning percentage = (wins+draws/2) / total games
      Based on games in the database; may be incomplete.
      65 exhibition games, odds games, etc. are excluded from this statistic.

With the White pieces:
 French Defense (60) 
    C11 C01 C00 C13 C14
 Ruy Lopez (53) 
    C77 C65 C60 C67 C70
 Scotch Game (49) 
 Vienna Opening (41) 
    C25 C29 C26 C28
 French (38) 
    C11 C00 C13 C10
 Evans Gambit (38) 
    C51 C52
With the Black pieces:
 French Defense (88) 
    C01 C11 C00 C14 C02
 Ruy Lopez (44) 
    C61 C62 C66 C60 C71
 French (39) 
    C11 C00 C10 C13
 Sicilian (33) 
    B45 B21 B22 B25 B30
 Queen's Pawn Game (26) 
    D00 D02 D05 A46 A40
 Scandinavian (24) 
Repertoire Explorer

NOTABLE GAMES: [what is this?]
   NN vs Blackburne, 1880 0-1
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863 1-0
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871 0-1
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863 0-1
   Blackburne vs Mr. L, 1886 1-0
   Blackburne vs J Schwarz, 1881 1-0
   Bird vs Blackburne, 1886 0-1
   Lasker vs Blackburne, 1899 0-1
   Blackburne vs Lipschutz, 1889 1-0
   Chigorin vs Blackburne, 1898 0-1

NOTABLE TOURNAMENTS: [what is this?]
   Vienna (1873)
   Paris (1878)
   Berlin (1881)
   Vienna (1882)
   London (1883)
   Nuremberg (1883)
   Hamburg (1885)
   Breslau (1889)
   9th DSB Kongress, Leipzig (1894)
   Hastings (1895)
   Nuremberg (1896)
   London (1899)

GAME COLLECTIONS: [what is this?]
   tactics 2 by tactics
   Blindfold Blackburne by ughaibu
   New York 1889 by suenteus po 147
   London 1883 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1882 by suenteus po 147
   Vienna 1873 by suenteus po 147
   FAVORITE PLAYERS by gambitfan
   Joseph Henry Blackburne by capybara
   London 1899 by suenteus po 147
   Tullius' favorite games by Tullius
   Paris 1878 by suenteus po 147
   Blackburne and Tal meet NN by ughaibu
   Blackburne Miniatures by ArmyBuddy

   NN vs Blackburne, 1880
   NN vs Blackburne, 1871
   Blackburne vs NN, 1863
   A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne, 1863
   Bird vs Blackburne, 1886

Search Sacrifice Explorer for Joseph Henry Blackburne
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(born Dec-10-1841, died Sep-01-1924) United Kingdom

[what is this?]
Joseph Henry Blackburne was born in Chorlton, Manchester. He came to be known as "The Black Death". He enjoyed a great deal of success giving blindfold and simultaneous exhibitions. Tournament highlights include first place with Wilhelm Steinitz at Vienna 1873, first at London 1876, and first at Berlin 1881 ahead of Johannes Zukertort. In matchplay he lost twice to Steinitz and once to Emanuel Lasker. He fared a little better with Zukertort (Blackburne - Zukertort Match (1881)) and Isidor Gunsberg, by splitting a pair of matches, and defeating Francis Joseph Lee, ( Blackburne - Lee (1890) ). One of the last successes of his career was at the age of 72, when he tied for first place with Fred Dewhirst Yates at the 1914 British Championship. He died of a heart attack.

note: Blackburne played on the teams of Steinitz / Bird / Blackburne, Blackburne / Bird / MacDonnell, Bird / Blackburne, Blackburne / Aloof, Steinitz / Blackburne, Blackburne / Steinitz / De Vere, Blackburne / Potter, Blackburne / Horace Chapman & Joseph Henry Blackburne / Allies.

Wikipedia article: Joseph Henry Blackburne

 page 1 of 39; games 1-25 of 965  PGN Download
Game  ResultMoves Year Event/LocaleOpening
1. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-050 1861 Manchester (England)C15 French, Winawer
2. A Steinkuehler vs Blackburne 0-124 1861 ManchesterC44 King's Pawn Game
3. Paulsen vs Blackburne 1-033 1861 Manchester blind simC00 French Defense
4. Blackburne vs Payne 1-030 1862 ManchesterC45 Scotch Game
5. Mongredien vs Blackburne  ½-½35 1862 LondonC33 King's Gambit Accepted
6. Blackburne vs J F Gillam 0-132 1862 Blindfold simulB40 Sicilian
7. Blackburne vs Paulsen 0-155 1862 LondonD00 Queen's Pawn Game
8. Blackburne vs Steinitz 0-140 1862 London (England)C51 Evans Gambit
9. Paulsen vs Blackburne  ½-½36 1862 LondonC00 French Defense
10. Blackburne vs Anderssen 1-024 1862 London HaringayC37 King's Gambit Accepted
11. Blackburne vs Hamiliton 1-028 1862 BFX ManchesterC38 King's Gambit Accepted
12. Blackburne vs H Young ½-½24 1862 Blindfold simulC41 Philidor Defense
13. Blackburne vs Lomax 1-039 1862 ManchesterC01 French, Exchange
14. Blackburne vs F Deacon  0-144 1862 LondonC41 Philidor Defense
15. Blackburne vs W J Evelyn 1-032 1862 Blindfold simulC21 Center Game
16. Blackburne vs Owen 1-023 1862 LondonB00 Uncommon King's Pawn Opening
17. Blackburne vs Steinitz ½-½16 1862 LondonC67 Ruy Lopez
18. Dubois vs Blackburne  ½-½41 1862 LondonC00 French Defense
19. Blackburne vs NN 1-015 1862 BFX ManchesterC38 King's Gambit Accepted
20. Blackburne vs J W Rimington-Wilson  ½-½32 1862 Blindfold simulB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
21. Blackburne vs Jebson 1-019 1862 ManchesterB40 Sicilian
22. Hannah vs Blackburne 1-041 1862 LondonC42 Petrov Defense
23. Blackburne vs T W Barnes 0-153 1862 LondonB21 Sicilian, 2.f4 and 2.d4
24. Blackburne vs W M Chinnery 1-040 1862 Blindfold simulC65 Ruy Lopez, Berlin Defense
25. Blackburne vs Steinitz 0-119 1862 LondonA82 Dutch, Staunton Gambit
 page 1 of 39; games 1-25 of 965  PGN Download
  REFINE SEARCH:   White wins (1-0) | Black wins (0-1) | Draws (1/2-1/2) | Blackburne wins | Blackburne loses  

Kibitzer's Corner
< Earlier Kibitzing  · PAGE 7 OF 7 ·  Later Kibitzing>
Jul-03-13  KlingonBorgTatar: Blackburne has proven you can live a long hectic life of a chess master while drinking considerably and even keep your chess prowess ( see <keypusher>'s post above). Reminds me of Fritz Saemisch who equally lived long , this time , chain smoking all the time.
Premium Chessgames Member
  optimal play: <<<Mr. Blackburne has not been so successful in his blindfold play in Sydney as in Melbourne, but it may be remarked that at the former place he had, perhaps, six of the best players the colony could muster against him. It is not usual to oppose first-class players to these who essay to play blindfold, as of course the latter are at the best laboring under disadvantages.

The Sydney Morning Herald gives the following account of the match which took place on Thursday, February 26 : >

There were about 150 chessplayers present during the evening. His Honor Mr. Justice Windeyer presided, and Mr. P. B. Walker, Acting Superintendent of Telegraphs, president of the Sydney Chess Club, and the Rev. S. S. Tovey, vice-president, called over the moves.

There were eight games proceeding simultaneously, Mr. Blackburne having a seat on the platform with his back towards his opponents, who were ranged at the boards ; placed in a row in front of the platform.

The following was the order of players :

Board No. 1, Mr. Deholery ;
No. 2. Mr. Ridley ;
No. 3. Mr. Heiman ;
No. 4. Mr. Newman ;
No. 5. Mr. Chamier ;
No. 6. Mr. Russell ;
No. 7. Mr. Crane ;
No. 8. Mr. Gea.

The wonderful performance of playing so many strong players at once lasted from 7 o'clock until 20 minutes past 12, when the first draw was called.

Mr. Blackburne's marvellous faculty was manifested in a marked manner at board 5, about the 23rd move. There had been a slight inaccuracy in calling over the moves, by which a Rook came to be misplaced. In correcting the error Mr. Blackburne called over the position of every piece on the board, for which he was loudly applauded.

At 20 minutes past 12 o'clock Mr. Gea, at board 8, after the 37th move, suggested a draw, and Mr. Blackburne agreed. No. 4, Mr. Newman, resigned after the 30th move, at five minutes to 1 o'clock. Mr. Blackburne resigned at No. 1, after the 37th move, at 10 minutes past 1, in favor of Mr. Deholery, who was heartily congratulated on his victory. At 1.25 a.m. No. 2 declared a draw. Mr. Blackburne resigned at board 5, on the 36th move, in favor of Mr. Chamier. Mr. Heiman won at board 3. At No. 7 board Mr. Crane resigned in favor of Mr. Blackburne.

The result was that Mr. Blackburne won two games, lost three, and three were drawn.>

- South Australian Weekly Chronicle (Adelaide, SA) issue Saturday 7 March 1885>

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: In a match ending on June 8, 1887, Blackburne beat Johannes Zukertort by the score of +5 -1 =8 according to page 5 of the July 1887 'Wiener Schachzeitung'.

Differing results have been claimed by other users, see posts: Joseph Henry Blackburne and Johannes Zukertort

Premium Chessgames Member
  offramp: <ntiochus: 1125 games of Blackburne are here (a cura di Franco Pezzi):>...
I'm glad he has so many games. Very entertaining!

Premium Chessgames Member
  Nosnibor: Towards the end of his career Blackburne was giving simultaneous exhibitions and I hold an original letter of his addressed to "Hon.Sec.Leicester Chess Club"This was sent on the 16th September 2010 from his address at 39 Stillness Road,Forest Hill,S.E.It reads:-Dear Sir I am booking dates for my usual annual tour and shall be in the Birmingham district ftom the 11th to 19th of October,and if a visit to your club could be arranged about that time,I would come to Leicester and play 20 games simultanneously for a fee of two guineas-Will you kindly let me knowat your earliest convenience-I remain yours truly J H Blackburne The actual event took place at the King`s Restaurant,Leicester on Wednesday 12th October 1910.He contested 21 games losing to Dr.H Mason,drawing with Dr.Bennett,E.H Collier,A. Underwood,V.H.Lovell,V.D Pavord,A.F.Atkins,J Lee,H. C.Eales,W.R.T.Whatmore and H.W.Bourne.He won the remaining 10 games for a score of 15.5/21.Not bad for someone approaching his 70th year.Here is the game he contested against Lovell(Black)French Defence,Exchange variation 1e4,e6.2d4,d5.3exd5,exd5.4Nf3,Nf6.5Bd3,Bd6.60-0,- 0-0.7c3,c6.8Bg5,Be6.9Qc2,h6.10Bh4,Nbd7.11Nbd2,Qc-
e1,b4.22Nh5,Nxh5.23Qxh5 Draw agreed.Maybe Black can win at this point by 23g6?
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nosnibor: In my last post the dste of Blackburne`s letter was of course 16th September,1910 and not 2010!Apologies.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Quaint story about Blackburne and one of his simultaneous performances>

<Blackburne's guile>

The "Yorkshire Weekly Post" says that during a recent simultaneous performance against the members of a ladies' chess club Mr J .H. Blackburne had worked up a Queen sacrifice against one of his opponents.

On the master's next visit to the board the lady said: 'Had you not better reconsider your last move, Mr Blackburne? You have put your Queen en prise'.

Mr Blackburne sighed his usual sigh, and answered - 'It will have to stand madam, I never take moves back.' So the Queen was captured, and then the arch-deceiver remarked - 'I am afraid, madam, that I shall have to mate you in three moves.'"

The Brisbane Courier p.11 - Saturday 24 February 1906

Premium Chessgames Member
  Chessical: Blackburne was in poor health for the final year of his life, with his wife recently predeceasing him.

<Hull Daily Mail> - Tuesday 02 September 1924

Mr Blackburne was seized with slight paralytic stroke about year ago.

<Western Morning News> - Wednesday 03 September 1924

Mr. John Henry Blackburne, the great English chess player, died on Monday at Lewisham in his 83rd year. ..." The intrinsic merits of Blackburue's characteristic games are such," says " The Times," " that he must rank the finest player this country has ever produced, though, unlike Staunton, he never became the world's champion."

He was buried in Ladywell Cemetery, Ladywell Road, Lewisham, London SE13 7HY.

From the on-line records it appers that his grave is
Plot 5925.
Mary Jane BLACKBURNE died 1922 aged 83 - Wife
Joseph Henry BLACKBURNE died 1924 aged 82 - Husband

Dec-10-13  Robespierre: I'm one of those patzers who's a big Blackburne enthusiast because of his fondness for the Evans Gambit -- at which opening he was quite successful! And, how many top level chess players live to the age of 82!!
Dec-10-13  Penguincw: R.I.P. Joseph Henry Blackburne.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Nosnibor: One of the feww players of his time to have a plus score against Pillsbury.(+2).R.I.P.Master Blackburne
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: <Nosnibor> Not all of the Pillsbury - Blackburne games are here in <CG>.

Their actual record is +4=4-4.

Premium Chessgames Member
  Nosnibor: <TheFocus> I am afraid I do not agree.Their actual head to head scores is 5 wins to Blackburne,3 wins to Pillsbury and 5 draws,ignoring 2 consultation games where they scored one each.Blackburne won at Nuremberg 1896,Cable match 1896,twice at London 1899 and Cable match 1899.Pillsbury won twice at Vienna 1898 and Cable match 1901.Draws were scored in the Cable matches in 1897, 1898 and 1900,Hastings 1895 and an exhibition game in Vienna 1898.I am not aware of any other games between these two contestants.
Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I am talking about official games, not exhibitions or consultations.
Dec-10-13  Petrosianic: Depends what you mean by exhibition games. Simultaneous exhibitions, sure. But there were a lot of one or two-shot games in those days, played independently of a tournament or match, and regarded as absolutely "official" (whatever that meant in those days). One of Capablanca's most famous games was one such exhibition:

O Bernstein vs Capablanca, 1914

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I am wrong. I thought they split their games in London 1899. Instead Blackburne won them both.

Thanks <Nosnibor>. I will change my database.

Premium Chessgames Member
  TheFocus: I consider those 2 game shots to be matches.

I do draw the line at a one game shot. To me that is an exhibition game.

But, I don't get to make those decisions. That's above my pay grade.

Dec-10-13  Petrosianic: If it's played under classicial time controls, with no funny rules (like theme openings or the like), I have no problem counting it as an official game. But I agree, a 1-shot is pretty odd.
Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: The British Chess Federation started a collection for Blackburne. A fund was to be created to allow for the Blackburnes to have a carefree evening of life. At around mid-January 1911 they had already collected almost 7200 Kronen.

Source: Page 71 of the February 1911 'Wiener Schachzeitung'

Feb-02-14  RedShield: < 7200 Kronen>

In Danegeld?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Karpova: As it was an Austrian newspaper, the Austro-Hungarian krone is probably meant.
Feb-02-14  RedShield: Blackburne was a beneficiary of krone capitalism.
Feb-11-14  Poulsen: In an old chessmagazine (~ 1910) I saw a reference to an interview with Blackburne at his 50 years anniversary as chess player.

He is supposed to have said, that Zukertort (not Steinitz) was the strongest player, that he had known. And that Morphy was his 'idol' as chessplayer - he thought, that Morphy was stronger than Lasker - however Lasker was by far the strongest player alive at this point in time.

Has anyone seen a record of the interview?

Premium Chessgames Member
  Phony Benoni: Man At Work:

Premium Chessgames Member
  zanzibar: When a blindfold game is adjourned, is the blindfolded player allowed to see the board at any time before resumption of play?
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